Several hours after the income tax department’s outcry, Infosys claimed that after emergency maintenance, the site was up and running.

Infosys tax portal
Lax about tax portal?
Image: Twitter Screenshot/Infosys India Business

But whether it’s a permanent fix or a temporary band-aid remains to be seen. After all, Infosys’ track record hasn’t been stellar when it comes to deploying government software.

Infosys third time unlucky

This isn’t the first time Infosys has goofed up an Indian government project.

In 2013, the company was awarded a Rs357 crore ($49 million) project to develop the Ministry of Corporate Affairs’s e-governance portal , MCA-21. In March 2016, when a new version of the portal was rolled out, it faced major technical issues. Companies grappled with frequent changes in versions of forms, portal outages, forms being marked for resubmission with no reason given, and more.

In 2015, the Bengaluru-based behemoth bagged the Rs1,380 crore project to build the IT backbone for the goods and services tax  network (GSTN). From January 2019 to June 2021, the authorities paid Infosys Rs164.5 crore to build the new tax e-filing portal. But this portal, too, faced immense backlash. Traders complained of the inability to rectify errors, a lack of forms, issues regarding processing applications, and bugs in the software that slow the system.

In every instance—be it issues with MCA-21, GSTN, or the income tax portal—taxpayers have desperately asked the government to penalise Infosys and forego late fees and give reimbursements to inconvenienced citizens.

Moreover, this performance issue has pointed a harsh spotlight on the company’s competence, with several Twitter users calling its talent subpar. That’s actually a problem with the industry as a whole. In India, less than 5% of engineers exhibit good coding skills since the education system is mostly textbook-based and few students do multiple internships before entering the workforce.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.